Lieutenant Governor

48. From CEO to Lieutenant Governor | Tammy Miller, North Dakota

Episode 48

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In the 2024 season premiere episode of the Driven by DCKAP podcast, we welcome a very special guest – Tammy Miller, the Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota. With a well established background as a highly successful leader in the distribution industry, having been the CEO of the sixth-largest electrical distributor in the US, Border States, Tammy has carved out a unique path in her career as she has transitioned into working in the public sector. It is an inspirational journey that allows her to make an impact and influence others who may not only seek to improve the distribution industry but to take part in helping make the world a better place.

Join us, as podcast host, Karthik Chidambaram, the Founder & CEO of DCKAP, engages in this stimulating conversation with the venerable Tammy Miller. We learn more about her humble roots, her upbringing and early aspirations, the longevity of her transitional career path, from accounting, to leadership in distribution, and her many accomplishments while in government, and we gain key insights into her success, growth and drive. Today, she takes all she has learned throughout her amazing journey in order to serve the people in her state with purpose, to guide the advancement of North Dakota, and to help lead our country into the future.

Books mentioned in this podcast:
“Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness” by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

Karthik Chidambaram: Hello, everyone. Welcome to DCKAP’s Driven Podcast. We
are very excited today because we have with us the Lieutenant Governor (LG)
of North Dakota. You're right. We have with us the Lieutenant Governor of
North Dakota, Tammy Miller.

And Tammy, prior to becoming the LG of North Dakota, she was the Chief
Operating Officer at the Governor's Office. And prior to that, she was with
Borders States, the sixth largest electrical distributor in the US. And she
also worked there for fourteen years as CEO.

It's such an honor to be chatting with you, Tammy, and thanks so much for
joining DCKAP's Driven Podcast.

Tammy Miller: My pleasure. Great to be with you.

Karthik Chidambaram: Tammy, I was trying to read a little bit about you
online in preparation for this interview, and you grew up in a small town in
North Dakota. Now, you're the lieutenant governor of the state.

You know, it's quite an inspirational journey. I'm just curious to know
about your early years growing up as a kid or as a teenager. Did you always
have these big aspirations? To be in office or to become the CEO and all
that? How was Tammy as a little girl, growing up?

Tammy Miller: Well, growing up, my parents lived one mile out of the town of
Brocket. The population in Brocket today is 34. Three four. Thirty four
people. So, a very small community. I went to elementary school there in
Brocket and had six kids in my class. And then went to Lakota for high
school and graduated with just over forty in my high school class. But
growing up we had a really humble, humble household and humble roots.

My parents were in business with my grandfather. Early on, my grandfather
had a lumberyard and hardware store. My dad worked there. It was right
across from the elementary school, and my grandparents also lived right
across from the elementary school, so I saw my grandparents every day, and
had, generally, had a meal with them almost every day as well.

So when people say it takes a village, it really did. And my grandparents
were very involved in that. With my parents having interest in a small
family business, I learned very quickly the importance of working hard and
doing any job that was needed to serve customers, and that has come in very
handy throughout my career.

Also I understood work ethic, honesty and also giving back to the community.
Even though my parents didn't have a lot of money, we always were giving
back to the community in kind with our time or when they could with money.
So that has always stuck with me and I continue to give back to the
communities where we live.

Karthik Chidambaram: That's very inspirational, Tammy. And growing up with
grandparents is a lot of fun. And as you said, it teaches you a lot of
things and you get to also learn history and all that. That's amazing. But
then it does-

Tammy Miller: And it's interesting because my grandparents were always very
old to me. My grandmother was 44 when my dad was born. So they were always
older, but we just learned so much from them. And it was so wonderful to
have them in our lives.

Karthik Chidambaram: That's awesome. Well, I'm just curious. A lot of
people, you had a very successful career, but then, you know, you finish
college and all that, you finish school, but you want to go out to a big
state, work there, but you decided to stay where you are from. You stuck to
your roots. Can you talk us through the thought process? What made you stay
in North Dakota?

Tammy Miller: Absolutely. So, I went across the border to Minnesota for
college and have an undergraduate degree in accounting and an MBA from
Minnesota State University in Moorhead. When I graduated, I really wasn't
sure what I wanted to do, but I had had an internship in public accounting.

So, I applied for full time work in public accounting and landed with a
really good firm in Fargo called Charles Bailey at the time. I worked there
for eight and a half years, primarily as an auditor. I don't think I
mentioned it, but I am a CPA and I continue to maintain that CPA license
today. I think it's just really a great foundational background and the
continuing ed CPA requirements are really good to keep you fresh in all
those areas of accounting and tax.

So, I took that job with Charles Bailey and it happened to be in Fargo. I
did have this little desire in me for a long time to move to a big city, So
really to satisfy that, when my husband and I got married, we lived in
Fargo.

Most of our friends went to the lakes in Minnesota for the weekends.
Instead, we had an apartment and then a condo in Minneapolis. So that's how
we kind of satisfied that need for the big city. When our friends would go
to the lakes on the weekend, we would go to Minneapolis for the weekend. I
did have an opportunity to live in a big city after I started with Border
States, before I became the CEO.

I was asked to be the General Manager for the Southwest region. So my
husband and I relocated to Phoenix and I ran the Southwest region out of
Phoenix with branches in Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, Farmington, New
Mexico, El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico. I really enjoyed that job
opportunity, liked all of the entertainment aspects in the Phoenix Metro,
but really missed North Dakota.

Missed knowing people and feeling like, as an individual, you could make a
difference. So I was excited to be promoted to CEO at Border States in 2000.
Well, the appointment came in 2005, started in the position on January 1st
of 2006, and then relocated back to North Dakota.

Karthik Chidambaram: No, that's great. You're coming back to your roots and
you've traveled the country. That's really interesting.

Talking about Border States, you became the CEO in 2006 and you remained CEO
for 14 years. And you stayed with the company for 30 years. It requires a
lot of patience. And also, when you became the CEO, the company was doing a
little under 500 million in revenue. By the time you left, after 14 years,
you guys ended up doing a little over two and a half billion.

Give us some CEO advice. And what did you do?

Tammy Miller: Sure. Let's talk a little bit about that almost 30 year
journey. So, I had been in public accounting, which was a great experience,
but after eight and a half years I decided that I wasn't going to spend the
rest of my career in public accounting. I was being asked to join the
partnership, and if you become a partner in a public accounting firm, that's
generally the rest of your career path.

So, in the fall of…let's see, it would have been the fall of 1990. I reached
out to Border States. One of my audit clients, their CFO was 60 and a half
years old. And I called the president and I said, what are you going to do
when Dean retires? And they said, you know, we really haven't talked about
succession.

So, they brought me in. They knew me because I had been the auditor, I was
trusted as the auditor. We had a number of interviews. They didn't post the
position. I don't think they interviewed anyone else. And I became the
accounting manager and worked with Dean for a year and a half until he
retired. And then, you say ‘have a lot of patience’, but I didn't really
ever feel impatient in any of my roles because the company was always
changing and growing.

And especially when the company was smaller, we were involved in every
aspect of the business and it was always a new challenge. So I never felt
stagnant or impatient as I was on that journey to CEO. And then it was
really a life changing move when I moved to Phoenix around the southwest
region because I had never worked in the field.

I had always worked in the corporate office which is very different than
leading a branch, and then being responsible for six branches. So very, very
exciting opportunity and a very rewarding opportunity. You asked kind of
about the growth and some advice there. When I became the CEO, an individual
named Gary Miller was named president.

Same last name, not related. And then we had another individual who was
running operations named Greg Thrall. We were all kind of new to those
leadership roles when we took over. So we brought in some consultants who
helped us put together a new strategic plan for the company. And we knew
that the company needed to grow.

We wanted to be more relevant to our customers and vendors, and we wanted to
give our employee owners- Porter States is 100 percent employee owned
through an ESOP- we wanted to give the employee owners a better return on
their stock at Porter States. So we put together the strategic plan and with
that plan, we determined we needed to double in size in 5 years. That would
get us to a billion dollars.

We put together that plan. We put together the four overarching goals and
action items. And in the action items, we were very deliberate about making
sure that every employee owner, regardless of position, could see something
in that plan that they could influence to help us achieve that goal of being
a billion dollars in five years.

And I'm very excited to say we had a good communication plan. We had good
accountability. Even with the Great Recession, we still accomplished our
billion dollar goal in five years. And then after that, we just continued to
build on that strategy. And then, with that success, a lot of smaller family
businesses saw Border States, saw how we treated employee owners, customers,
how we worked with vendors, and they wanted to be a part of it.

So, many owners reached out to us about buying their companies. So, when we
look at our growth, about half of it was M&A and half of it was organic.

Karthik Chidambaram: Oh, it's a great journey. I mean, a lot of lessons
there, you know, in a couple of minutes you shared quite a bit and it's
really, really interesting.

So you really worked hard, you know, you had a foot on the ground and you've
got to make some strategic decisions. Yeah, very, very interesting. And-

Tammy Miller: I think the key to that, too, with that strategic plan was
communication and transparency, and empowering every employee owner to be a
part of it. And I think the employee owners were super engaged and continue
to be because they understand the vision. And they know the impact that will
have on customers, vendors, and them personally.

Karthik Chidambaram: Great. And you were also the first woman to lead the
National Association of Electrical Distributors, NAED, in its 100 year
history. And you also received the NAED Women in Industry Trailblazer Award.

So what was it like? And tell us about women in distribution. How has that
changed over the years? And what advice would you give for women out there
who also have similar aspirations to grow up their career chain?

Tammy Miller: Absolutely. So I was very fortunate when I joined Border
States. The CEO was Paul Madsen, a great, great friend and mentor still to
this day. He was very supportive of every leader. And it was all based on
your ability, not gender, race, anything else.

And I remember going to my first NAD conference. It was in, it was in San
Francisco in the nineties and we were walking the ballroom floor where the
booth sessions were going on and another gentleman from a different
electrical distribution company came up and said, ‘Well, Paul Madsen, aren't
you lucky you've got to bring your secretary to this conference.’

And, you know, those roles are extremely important, but no one should assume
that women can only be secretaries, nurses, and teachers. So Paul, who was a
great supporter of mine, said, ‘You need to meet this person. Her name is
Tammy Miller. She's the smartest person in our organization.’

So that's the environment that I grew up in at Border States. I had that
support all the time, and was given opportunities because people believed in
me and it didn't matter what gender.

As I got into NAED, I started early on with the area meetings and then the
regional work and then national. I served on the board for a number of
years. And I was asked to serve as the board chair and I had just become the
CEO at Border States. That was new to me. We were just moving back from
Phoenix to North Dakota.

And I just was thinking, this is not the right time. And then a couple of
mentors who were manufacturers in the electrical distribution space said,
‘Tammy, you need to do this and you need to do it now for the industry.’ So,
like a lot of things, I said, yeah, yes, and, you know, figured it out
later, which is my motto for a lot of things, ‘Say yes, figure it out
later.’

So, I did agree to do that, and it was really a very remarkable experience
and the timing was great. Because the economy was fabulous. It was the 100th
year of NAED. We had a fabulous conference, and it was just really a great
opportunity for me. And we also got some traction with the women in industry
group, and we had our first, you know, national conference for women in
industry and had about 100 women at that first conference.

And I think that jump started a lot of interest. And, hopefully inspired
more women to pursue opportunities in electrical distribution. And I think
electrical distribution is a great industry for anyone, really great
opportunities. And you can find just about any job in electrical
distribution. So I continue to encourage women to look at those
non-traditional careers.

And I think maybe one of the most rewarding things for me was, shortly
before I left Border States, we were talking about the Women in Industry
conference, and there were a few people at Border States that said, women
who said, ‘Why do we even need it? We're all treated equally now anyway.’ So
I think we've made really great progress.

And I know when I left, and I assume it is continuing, that we are seeing
more and more women at every local, regional and national conference for the
electrical distribution industry.

Karthik Chidambaram: No, well said, Tammy. Yeah, definitely right. These
conferences have more women now, and also the distribution industry is
growing and more women are getting into distribution.

That's very encouraging and it's great to see as well. But switching-

Tammy Miller: And I haven't been at a Women in Industry conference for a
while, but I think I have seen or heard that they've been, like, sold out
with, you know, literally hundreds, multiple hundreds of women at these
events.

Karthik Chidambaram: Switching gears a little bit, Tammy, you're, you are
having a very successful career. Things are going well. You're the CEO. You
grew the company like four times or five times, and then you get into public
service. You joined the governor's office as the Chief Operating Officer.

How did that transition happen? Or did you always have aspirations, or did
you always have an inclination to join the government or public service?

Tammy Miller: Well, I wouldn't say I've always had some aspiration to be in
public service, but I have always had a deep passion to give back, to give
back to organizations, the state, areas that have been so good for me and my
family and businesses I've been part of.

In 2016, Governor Burgum was first elected as governor. I knew the governor
in Fargo, where we both were involved with large businesses. We had worked
on some projects together, including the Valley Prosperity Partnership,
where we were trying to bring more research, committed water supply, and
work on the workforce for our Red River Valley on the eastern side of the
state.

So, I knew the Governor very well, and he became Governor in 2018. He had
talked to me about working on a couple of things with his office, but the
timing didn't work at Border States. I had a very well defined succession
plan. You can imagine. I worked at Border States most of my adult life and
was the CEO for 14 and a half years.

So, that was my baby for a long time. And I wanted to make sure we had a
rock solid succession plan when I left, and that the growth and success
would continue for the employee owners. So, I had a three year succession
plan that we worked on and that plan was to be completed on March 31st of
2020.

So, the governor had talked to me about a couple of opportunities, but in
July of 2019, he asked if I wanted to be the Chief Operating Officer, the
individual who was in that position wanted to retire. And I said, ‘Oh, I'd
love to do that work, but I really have to keep my commitment to Border
States,’ so we can wrap up the succession plan on March 31st of 2020.

So, the individual who was the Chief Operating Officer and the Governor
said, ‘you know what, we can make this work’. And for my last six months at
Border States, I was planning to be out of the office, but available. I just
wanted to kind of be out of the way so the new team could be taking over.

So those last six months, I started volunteering in the Governor's office,
and then I retired from Border States on March 31st of 2020, started in the
Governor's office the next day on April 1. That was a Wednesday. And I think
everyone knows what was happening in early 2020. COVID. So, a lot of the
work that I did my first two years as Chief Operating Officer was help, help
manage our COVID response in the state of North Dakota.

And the other big part of my job as a Chief Operating Officer was working
very directly with cabinet leaders. So, our cabinet agencies are, like,
Department of Transportation, Health and Human Services, Game and Fish,
Parks and Rec, Financial Institutions, Security, National Guard, Highway
Patrol, the list goes on.

So, I work very closely with those agencies to help them work as one, to
deliver more value to our citizens. And then if we do have an opening in any
of those executive roles, I do the recruiting and the interviewing and make
a recommendation on the Governor for a final candidate to interview and then
for appointment to the position.

Now, as Lieutenant Governor, most Lieutenant Governors don't do this, but I
did retain that relationship and those duties with the cabinet leaders
because we have such a great team and it just helps me do my job better,
too, in this role.

Karthik Chidambaram: No, it's great. You know, it's a great way to
transition. So six months, you just turn off everything and you'll be
available. Hey, if you need me, I'm there. And then you go volunteer at the
Governor's office. You also learn the new job and all that. I think that's a
great way to transition.

And thanks for the great work there, especially in 2020, when COVID hit and
all that. It's not an easy situation to get on to a new job and, you know,
you just hit the ground running. So great. And thank you for the great work
there.

Tammy Miller: Thank you.

Karthik Chidambaram: I'm just curious, right? In 2018, you also were
considering to run for the US Senate against Heidi Heitkamp, but then you
opted out not to run. Is there a reason for that? Or is that just a response
to the-

Tammy Miller: And that all tied back to the, that succession plan I had laid
out at Border States. It was something that I was interested in and wanted
to gather more information for perhaps a future opportunity, but that timing
in 2018 just didn't work out for me with my succession plan at Border
States.

Karthik Chidambaram: That makes sense. Yeah. And how, I mean, you have been
a very successful CEO, but how are these lessons as a CEO helping you do
your job right now?

Tammy Miller: Well, you know, I say, you know, the Governor's role and the
Lieutenant Governor’s role, in large part, are like being the President and
CEO of a large company. So we have very different agencies that we work
with. Kind of like branches at Border States. So to have those different
entities work as one and really work as a state, not a siloed agency.

That experience in the past with Border States has been very helpful, you
know, knowing how to manage a multibillion dollar budget is really helpful.
Not a lot of people have had experience with multibillion dollar budgets.
And the state does have a multi billion dollar budget, as you can imagine.

The other thing is, at Border States, we acquired a lot of companies and
integrated them. So, after the acquisition, they really became Border
States. And a lot of those concepts that we use in M&A work are very
applicable in state government as we try to work as one. And then it became
even more specific, we merged our Department of Health, which is our largest
agency in the state, with the- I should say the Department of Human
Services, which is the largest agency in the state- with the Department of
Health. So I was the executive sponsor for that whole integration of those
two agencies, and we completed that on September 1st.

And then we have a lot of other initiatives where we're trying to kind of
take the friction out of doing business with state government. So, I'm the
executive sponsor for a project called the Business Gateway. We tried to get
funding for this project since 2005, and we finally did this last
legislative session. So, as a business, you can imagine, working with state
government, you work with the tax department, with workforce safety, with
job service, with commerce, with the Secretary of State, and others. If you
deal with them online, you have a unique password, user ID, you have to put
your information in for each of those agencies.

It's a lot of non-value work. So we're working on building this Business
Gateway. So when you come to work with the state as a business, it's a one
stop for all of your solutions. So we're working on that right now. And then
we're also working on phase two of what we call red tape reduction. I think
a lot of people generalize and say there's a lot of red tape working with
government. So we are very deliberately getting feedback from our team
members as well as from all constituents in North Dakota to figure out how
to reduce red tape.

And during our last legislative session this spring, we had over 50 bills
that were introduced and then eventually signed by the Governor to reduce
red tape in our state. We launched Red Tape Reduction 2.0 just recently, and
we're continuing to build that culture of red tape reduction within our team
members, and then also soliciting a lot of input from the citizens of North
Dakota.

Karthik Chidambaram: Oh, this, this is great, Tammy. But who comes up with
all these great ideas, right? Does it come from you, or the Governor, or the
people, or how do you-

Tammy Miller: Well, you know what, it, it's kind of all of the above, and
some of these ideas have been percolating for sometimes decades. And, I
think a lot of our leaders didn't have, maybe, the experience to really tell
the story to the legislators to make sure we could get the funding when it
was time to ask.

So, about two years ago, we brought in some consultants that helped us be
better storytellers, and we're using a lot of those techniques to start
early with our stories. And I think we've been much more effective in
gaining awareness and understanding of the needs in the state and then
getting some of these projects that have been, you know, talked about for
decades, funded.

So, the Business Gateway is one another is, our update for our job service,
our unemployment claims processing. Our technology there was first
implemented in 1976, and we're finally replacing that system. We got the
funding this last legislative session.

Karthik Chidambaram: Yeah, I was reading through your digital transformation
journey as well for the state. It's very impressive. But then, you know,
executing at a private enterprise is a different thing and executing at a
government is a completely different ballgame.

How do you make sure that these ideas get executed, right? Because these are
great ideas, but then at the end of the day, it needs to be really executed
well, and that's what you're working on. What, how do you make sure that it
gets executed? Because that's where a lot of governments suffer, right?

Tammy Miller: Well, in so many ways, it's not different at all. You have to
make sure that you have good leaders, that they are empowered. They have the
resources and you have accountability.

I think that's true in the private sector or in the government sector. I
think one thing that is different is our legislative session only meets
every two years. And so planning on that two year cycle is very different
than in private industry.

And in private industry, you know, if you had a good idea, you could
generally find a way to come up with the funding, even if it was in the
budget. That's not always true in government. So sometimes, it's a little
bit slower to get the resources that you need, but I think on the execution
side it is very similar.

And, you know, sometimes I think people have a misconception about the
quality of talent in state government. I am amazed at the quality of team
members we have working in the state of North Dakota. I would put them up
against any team in the country.

Karthik Chidambaram: That's great. Right. And, you know, I mean, it's very
impressive.

So, another question I have for you is- See, I mean, you are a very
accomplished executive and the Lieutenant Governor of the state, but how do
you stay grounded? Or how can people approach you? Because sometimes- I
mean, you're very approachable, you know, it was easy to get coordinated
with you. And, you know, I mean, I didn't expect to be talking to the
Lieutenant Governor, you know, today, right? I was not expecting to talk to
the Lieutenant Governor.

But how do you stay connected with people? Right? One thing is execution,
these big visions and all that. But at the end of the day, you know, you
also need to be, you have to stay connected with the people. How do you stay
connected?

Tammy Miller: Well, first of all, I'm very curious and very interested in
people. I love to meet people and visit with people. But I think it really
comes back to my roots growing up. I mean, my parents are very humble.
They're good to everyone, regardless of where they are in life.

And at the end of the day, I am still the same person I was five years ago,
even though I have a different title. So, I think we can all do more to
accomplish our purpose and make a difference if we are approachable,
curious, and remain humble.

Karthik Chidambaram: Great, thank you.

And you talked about jobs, and I mean, a lot of kids are graduating and
people graduating out of college. But how do you make sure that these people
stay in North Dakota? Or, let's say they leave, but then they come back just
like how you did? What do you do to ensure that?

Tammy Miller: Well, our state is in great shape and we have tons of great
jobs. Our biggest challenge is workforce. So, we are exactly addressing the
topic you just mentioned, doing everything we can to connect with those
students who are graduating soon to make them aware of all of the great
opportunities in the state. And to make them aware that we want them, we
want them to stay in the state.

I think for years, no one really talked to parents and kids about the great
opportunities and our desire to retain them in the state. We also have a lot
of programs where we are trying to attract talent from outside of the state.
And we also just recently set up an office of immigration within commerce to
help attract international workforce as well.

Karthik Chidambaram: That's interesting. I think that'll be of interest to a
lot of people across the world, I would think.

Tammy Miller: Well, I was just at a glass manufacturing company in the state
yesterday, and they have 35 different countries represented in their plant.
And they have about 300, just over 350 team members, so lots of great
diversity, which is so fun to see in our state.

Karthik Chidambaram: Diversity is great. It makes all the difference. But
North Dakota is also a significant player in the energy sector. But how do
you balance the state's economic interest and energy with climate change,
sustainability concerns, and all that? You know, how do you do that?

Tammy Miller: Absolutely. So, you're right. We like to say we feed and fuel
the world in North Dakota. Certainly the fossil fuel industry and
agriculture are our two biggest industries.

We produce about 1.2M barrels of oil a day. When we have lots of great
crops, we lead the country in the production of many crops. So, all that
said, there is no one more passionate about clean air, healthy soil, and
clean water than the citizens of North Dakota. And we are working on
solutions for sustainability through innovation versus regulation.

We have very innovative people who have found ways to almost eliminate
flaring of natural gas. We're finding new consumers of natural gas. We're
finding ways to sequester carbon. And we just were awarded a huge grant to
work on a hydrogen hub with three other states to use hydrogen as another
form of energy.

So, in North Dakota, we like to say we have an ‘all of the above energy
policy’ and we're getting there through innovation.

Karthik Chidambaram: Great. A couple of last questions. I know we are out of
time here.

How was it like working with the governor, Doug Bergman? How is it like
working with him?

Tammy Miller: Well, our Governor is the most visionary and inspiring person
I know and have ever worked with. He really can set the vision. He has a way
of inspiring and stretching everyone to do their best and do more. And he is
the state's biggest cheerleader. It's just fun to be part of this team.

Karthik Chidambaram: Great. And, yeah, he was also the CEO. He founded Great
Plains. That was interesting. Yeah.

Tammy Miller: Yes.

Karthik Chidambaram: That's great.

And, tell us some productivity tips or productivity hacks, right? So how are
you able to do so much? And do you have any tips for us or the audience?

Tammy Miller: Absolutely. First of all, effectively use your calendar. If
you want to do things, make sure it's on your calendar. And that includes
making time to keep yourself healthy.

I think anyone who knows me, knows that I am absolutely a fitness fanatic. I
work out pretty much every day, lift weights and run. I try to run a
thousand miles every year and I'm on track to meet that goal this year. I
know so many people who say, you know, I travel, I do this, I do that. I
don't have time to exercise. Everyone has time to squeeze in 30 minutes a
day.

So I think that is so important because then you are fit for duty. You're
feeling good. You're alert. I work out in the morning. I use that time when
I'm working out to kind of strategize some of the things that I have going
on during the day. So that dedicated fitness time every morning is really
helpful for me.

And then it really helps to have some good staff to who manage my calendar.

Karthik Chidambaram: That's great. Yeah, so stay healthy, use your calendar
well, have great staff, great advice.

Tammy Miller: And then maybe another thing, and I mentioned this at a
leadership conference probably a month and a half ago, it's okay to say
no.

Sometimes we feel really guilty if we have to say no, but if you can't
really give it your best and if you're not interested, sometimes it's okay
to say no.

Karthik Chidambaram: Yeah, say no. Well said. And, thanks for not saying no
to us, Tammy.

Tammy Miller: No, I wanted to do it.

Karthik Chidambaram: Cool. And, Tammy, I would like to end with this
question. I mean, do you have time to read books? And what book are you
reading right now?

Tammy Miller: Well, actually, I am really an impatient person. So it's hard
for me to read a book from cover to cover. But, we have a large Native
American population in North Dakota, about 10 percent of our population is
Native American, and I think they have a really beautiful, rich history, so
I have been reading books on our Native American culture and lifestyle here
in North Dakota.

Recently, I read a book about Sakakawea, I think a lot of folks know about
her role. And then the book that I have right now that I'm reading is about
building earth lodges. And it is amazing the work that the women did as they
built earth lodges on the, in these tribal communities.

Besides that, I have another book that I'm queued up to read. It's about
predictability. And I serve on the state investment board as the chair, so
our Chief Investment Officer recommended that. And that's a book I'm very
interested in reading too, next.

Karthik Chidambaram: That's great, Tammy, Another book I'm reading right now
is called, The Nudge. It's written by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R.
Sunstein. It's a great book. You know, it talks about ‘how do you nudge
people to do things?’ and it might be a good read for you as well.

Tammy Miller: Excellent. Thank you for that tip.

Karthik Chidambaram: So, Tammy, I just want to say thank you. I mean, I have
a lot more questions, but we are out of time. You're a very busy person, but
thanks for making time for us.

We absolutely enjoyed chatting with you. And it was great to learn more
about your vision for North Dakota and how you are attracting talent. Your
immigration policies, diversity. There've been a lot of learning and your
career journey is inspiring, not just for women, but for everybody out
there. And there's a lot we can learn. And also the way you transition from
one thing to another is also very interesting and exciting.

I just want to say a big Thank You. Thank you for joining the Driven
podcast. And, thanks a lot. It means a lot to us. Thank you.

Tammy Miller: Thank you. My pleasure.

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Episode 48